Wilfred Owen

(1893-1918 / Shropshire / England)

Inspection


'You! What d'you mean by this?' I rapped.
'You dare come on parade like this?'
'Please, sir, it's-' ''Old yer mouth,' the sergeant snapped.
'I takes 'is name, sir?'-'Please, and then dismiss.'

Some days 'confined to camp' he got,
For being 'dirty on parade'.
He told me, afterwards, the damnèd spot
Was blood, his own. 'Well, blood is dirt,' I said.

'Blood's dirt,' he laughed, looking away,
Far off to where his wound had bled
And almost merged for ever into clay.
'The world is washing out its stains,' he said.
'It doesn't like our cheeks so red:
Young blood's its great objection.
But when we're duly white-washed, being dead,
The race will bear Field-Marshal God's inspection.'

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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Comments about this poem (Inspection by Wilfred Owen )

  • Rookie Jane Moon (6/3/2009 4:04:00 PM)

    An odd thing, in military inspection the appearance is more important than the reality of war. How humbling to talk with a man who has shed his own blood in war - his vision is focused on the end and 'God's inspection'. Sad reality. (Report) Reply

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